£25million Government boost for local skills and development

190906 - Dudley College Stronger Towns Fund development site (l-r) Ian Austin MP; Cllr Karen Shakespeare; Lowell Willams; Mike Wood MP 2.JPG

Visiting the site of the future development with Ian Austin MP; Cllr Karen Shakespeare and Lowell Williams of Dudley College

Local young people can look forward to greater opportunities after two of Dudley's MPs succeeded in their campaign to get Government backing for £25million investment in skills and development.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government has today announced that Dudley is one of a select band of towns in the running for a share of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. 100 localities are being invited to submit proposals for investment opportunities to transform local areas.  Dudley is set to receive £25m towards the creation of a University Centre to complement other new developments in the area including the Institute of Transformational Technologies (IOT), which work began on in July this year.

The announcement is the culmination of a collaborative bid backed by Dudley MBC, local MPs Mike Wood and Ian Austin and Dudley College of Technology. The proposed £25m will be used to establish a “Technology Campus” on the site of the old rail terminal off Tipton Road at the bottom of Castle Hill,  adjacent to the Dudley Zoo car park, which is earmarked for regeneration. The new development will add to the Very Light Railway and the Black Country & Marches IOT sites which will provide exciting opportunities for a raft of educational opportunities including new offers in medical engineering, driverless vehicles and health technology. The new proposals are set to  put  Dudley firmly  on the educational map and provide a boost to the local economy.

Welcoming  the announcement Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley said : “The Council is wholly supportive of the new developments as we have a lot of strong projects going forward and this will further cement the opportunities for local people to develop higher level skills that are most in need in our region.”

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South, said:

“Strong technical and vocational skills are absolutely vital for our borough’s future success and prosperity, and for the opportunities that local people will have.

“This development will make a massive difference to what is possible for young people developing their careers, and will transform the gateway into Dudley to make it somewhere people want to go.

“That can only be good news for our whole community and that’s why I’ve been so pleased to work together with Ian, the College and the Government to make it happen.

“Securing this funding has given all local MPs a huge boost in our campaign to provide the next generation with the right skills, training and opportunities for the industries of the future."

Dudley College of Technology Chief Executive and Chair of the Board of Dudley Academies Trust Lowell Williams said: “The college has been at the heart of the regeneration of the town for over a decade and we are delighted to see the effort to sustain this come to fruition. The college is looking forward to being at the centre of the future regeneration of the town.”

Commenting on the announcement Ian Austin MP  said:

“This is the best news for Dudley we could have had! I promised at the election to campaign for a new hi-tech skills centre to attract new industries and good, new well-paid jobs to Dudley. I work hard to keep my promises so I’m absolutely delighted our campaign has paid off.

“No one is prouder of Dudley than me. We lit the spark that fired the industrial revolution but we all know we’ve struggled to attract new investment to replace the jobs we lost in traditional industries. This new campus will bring new investment, new businesses and new jobs in exciting new hi-tech industries to Dudley.

“I’ve always said we need to make education and skills our number one priority and this is exactly what we need to give Dudley a bright future and make it a strong town again.”

The forecast £25m is in addition to a share of the £217.5m Local Growth Fund and £14.5m Growing Places Fund which has been awarded to the Black Country region.

“Strong technical and vocational skills are absolutely vital for our borough’s future success and prosperity, and for the opportunities that local people will have.

“This development will make a massive difference to what is possible for young people developing their careers, and will transform the gateway into Dudley to make it somewhere people want to go.

“That can only be good news for our whole community and that’s why I’ve been so pleased to work together with Ian, the College and the Government to make it happen.

“Securing this funding has given all local MPs a huge boost in our campaign to provide the next generation with the right skills, training and opportunities for the industries of the future."